There have been some reports on the use of paired biopsies for monitoring disease progression in non-alcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD) patients. Recently, transient elastography has been developed as a non-invasive method for predicting the severity of liver fibrosis. We investigated 4-year disease progression in NAFLD patients by evaluating liver stiffness measurements (LSM) obtained using transient elastography.Methods
Of 97 biopsy-proven NAFLD patients whose LSM were obtained 4 years prior, we revaluated 36 who were available for follow up and compared their current stage of fibrosis with that at initial assessment. Fibrosis stage was diagnosed according to the cut-off values previously reported by our institution. We also investigated correlations between changes in LSM and changes in non-invasive fibrosis markers obtained by performing biochemical tests and clinical data.Results
A total of nine (25%) patients had fibrosis progression, 17 (47.2%) had static disease and 10 (27.8%) had fibrosis remission. Among patients with stage 0 fibrosis as per initial LSM (n = 16), 11 had static disease and five had fibrosis progression according to LSM obtained 4 years later. Changes in LSM correlated with changes in the FIB4 index (R = 0.519, P = 0.0011) and aspartate aminotransferase-to-platelet ratio index (R = 0.346, P = 0.0412), but not with changes in other non-invasive markers.Conclusion
Transient elastography is non-invasive and easy to use; therefore, it can be a useful tool for monitoring the severity of hepatic fibrosis in NAFLD patients.